Health Care in America: Overcharge the patient whenever you can

The LA Times notes the wide disparity in charges for joint replacement surgery in the LA area.

New Medicare data show that Inglewood’s Centinela Hospital Medical Center billed the federal program $237,063, on average, for joint replacement surgery in 2013.

That was the highest charge nationwide. And it’s six times what Kaiser Permanente billed Medicare eight miles away at its West L.A. hospital. Kaiser billed $39,059, on average, and Medicare paid $12,457.

They also note:

The average charge nationwide for a major joint replacement operation was $54,239, according to federal figures.

This is an industry unaware of value and efficiency, intent on charging whatever it can, without regard to actual cost.  Revenue rules.

Medicynical Note:  Insurers can negotiate the actual price with the hospitals and doctors but individuals are at a huge disadvantage.  Without insurance they will pay what’s billed or negotiate a lower price which will be still more than the insurers.   And if a consumer can’t pay cash he/she will incur financing charges and/or go bankrupt.  It’s a scam,  but in this case it’s run by the most distinguished (sic) institutions in our communities.  

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